SUGAR GROVE – A longtime Sugar Grove resident who "exemplifies the spirit" of the village was the recipient of the 2013 Citizen of the Year Award, which was announced Friday during a ceremony kicking off this year's Corn Boil festival.
Following the annual parade, Village President Sean Michels presented the award to Joe Didier, a retired Illinois State Police officer who owns D&S Painting.
"That just means I'm old," he joked after receiving a plaque and a gift basket.
Didier has lived in the Sugar Grove area with his wife, Mary, since 1968, according to a news release from the city of Sugar Grove, which goes on to say, "Truly, Joe Didier exemplifies the spirit of what makes Sugar Grove a great place to live and do business."
Didier said he had no idea that he would be this year's recipient.
"This was a surprise, and a very happy one," Didier said. "I've always been involved in deciding who was going to get this honor. I never in the least expected it would be me."
He's been active volunteer involved with the Corn Boil, the annual Old Timers Reunion, the Sugar Grove Senior Center and Sugar Grove American Legion Post 1271. He also spent time as a Little League coach , as well as numerous other projects and programs.
A special guest at Friday's parade, Karen McCannon – otherwise known as JoJo the Clown – nominated Didier for the award.
"I was the 2008 citizen of the year," she said. "I thought, if I was good enough to be one, he's good enough to be one. He's a great guy."
Friday's Corn Boil was the first McCannon has been able to attend in the last three years. She said she's attended about 40 Corn Boil festivals, but had to miss some in recent years because of health reasons. She said she and her husband have been involved with the festival since the early days, and she said the organizers have always tried to keep the festival affordable for families.
Many people stopped to give McCannon a hug or say hello while she watched Friday's opening ceremonies. McCannon rode in a golf cart in the parade, followed by the "Clown Victoria" golf cart, and stayed to watch Didier receive his award.
McCannon said it felt great to be back.
"It's wonderful," she added.